Item #5000491 Voyage autour du Monde entrepris par ordre du Gouvernement sur la Corvette La Coquille. DUPERREY, René Primevère LESSON.
Voyage autour du Monde entrepris par ordre du Gouvernement sur la Corvette La Coquille.
Voyage autour du Monde entrepris par ordre du Gouvernement sur la Corvette La Coquille.
Voyage autour du Monde entrepris par ordre du Gouvernement sur la Corvette La Coquille.
Voyage autour du Monde entrepris par ordre du Gouvernement sur la Corvette La Coquille.

Voyage autour du Monde…
Voyage autour du Monde entrepris par ordre du Gouvernement sur la Corvette La Coquille.

Paris: P. Pourrat Frères, 1839.

Two volumes, octavo, with altogether 42 engravings (vol. 1: portrait frontispiece and 12 plates, one folding; vol. 2: frontispiece and nine plates, one folding, and a suite of 19 coloured plates of natural history); in an attractive contemporary French binding of quarter red morocco with calf with glazed papered sides, flat spines gilt in romantique style.

With coloured natural history plates

The naturalist's account of the voyage of the Coquille, the French scientific expedition under the command of Louis-Isidore Duperrey. This is the deluxe issue with the natural history plates in colour, including illustrations of the lyre bird, wombat, platypus, opossum, kangaroo and various parrots. The other images in the two volumes illustrate views as well as costumes, objects and tools, and coastal profiles. Lesson was the naturalist and doctor on Duperrey's voyage (among many distinctions, he was the first naturalist to see birds of paradise in the wild). His narrative account is of special interest as this and his Voyage médical were the only separate descriptions to be published, since the official history of the voyage was never completed. Otherwise only the "Observations personelles" of Dumont d'Urville as a young officer on the voyage appeared (in volume III of the publication of the later Astrolabe voyage under his command). This is one of two issues; the other has the first volume dated 1838 on the title-page (and according to Ferguson 2533 has only 37 plates). A four-volume version with just four plates was published in Brussels in 1839.

The naturalist's account of the voyage of the Coquille, the French scientific expedition under the command of Louis-Isidore Duperrey. This is the deluxe issue with the natural history plates in colour, including illustrations of the lyre bird, wombat, platypus, opossum, kangaroo and various parrots. The other images in the two volumes illustrate views as well as costumes, objects and tools, and coastal profiles. Lesson was the naturalist and doctor on Duperrey's voyage (among many distinctions, he was the first naturalist to see birds of paradise in the wild). His narrative account is of special interest as this and his Voyage médical were the only separate descriptions to be published, since the official history of the voyage was never completed. Otherwise only the "Observations personelles" of Dumont d'Urville as a young officer on the voyage appeared (in volume III of the publication of the later Astrolabe voyage under his command). This is one of two issues; the other has the first volume dated 1838 on the title-page (and according to Ferguson 2533 has only 37 plates). A four-volume version with just four plates was published in Brussels in 1839.

The expedition travelled extensively throughout the Pacific, including Tahiti and the Solomons, and stopped at Port Jackson before sailing to the Bay of Islands. The substantial Sydney section covers some eighty pages, while the New Zealand narrative is even longer, running to more than a hundred pages. Lesson was a careful and lively observer. He received little formal education and joined the navy as medical assistant; here his natural aptitude was recognised and formal training as a surgeon ensued. Lesson was fascinated by natural history from a young age, and relished the many opportunities offered during the voyage of the Coquille.

Lesson describes his personal interactions with native peoples throughout the Pacific, including King Bungaree at Port Jackson, who was tasked with waiting upon the French officers with his Aboriginal companions. By the early 1820s the Pacific was undergoing rapid social change, and hopeful expectations often did not match the reality encountered. On anchoring in Tahiti the Frenchmen were disappointed, 'finding to their astonishment that this renowned South Seas paradise was turning into a strict, puritanical society ruled by fundamental English missionaries' (Dunmore). Nonetheless Lesson's observations are of lasting value, especially his vocabularies that include Māori and Aboriginal dialects. Bagnall notes in the NZNB that Lesson;s account of the New Zealand visit includes "two chapters on impressions from the vessel's stay in the Bay of Islands in March and April 1824; the first deals with the Māoris, female shipboard visitors, Hongi, Te Tui and his pa Kaouera (Kahuwera), and critical impressions of the missionaries at Kerikeri; the second is an extended essay on Māori culture and European contact. A stark, grim picture matching that of Cruise…".

Ferguson, 2787; Hill, 1012; Hocken, p. 73; NZNB, 3134; O'Reilly-Reitman, 828.

Condition Report: Some occasional light spotting due to paper type but an excellent copy in an attractive period binding.

Price (AUD): $3,800.00

US$2,647.87   Other currencies

Ref: #5000491

Condition Report